Capital Area Central Texas UNIX Society
CACTUS Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 11 - November 1997


November 20th CACTUS Meeting

CACTUS Meeting Location: Applied Research Labs

CACTUS meets on the third Thursday of each month at the Applied Research Labs (ARL) in the JJ Jake Pickle Research Campus (JJ PRC). We'll meet in the main auditorium located directly behind the guard's desk and main lobby.

Please do not show up earlier than 6:20 pm on the specified day. Enter through the main entrance at 10000 Burnet Road for ARL:UT. Tell the guard that you are here for the CACTUS meeting. You will be required to sign a log book, but not required to wear a badge. The guards will direct you to the auditorium entrance. Limited parking in the front of the building is available, but more extensive parking is available in the large parking lot just north of the ARL building. After 6:30 pm, all entrances to JJ PRC, except for the Burnet Road entrance, are closed and locked. You can still enter the parking lot in front of the ARL building. No parking tags are necessary after 6:00 pm. See map for further details.

Online maps are available at:

As always, please leave the facility as you saw it when you arrived. So let's clean up all pizza and soda items before we leave. Thanks and hope to see all of you there.

Location for the Monthly CACTUS Meeting
Applied Research Laboratory

                                                     | |     ^
           <---- to MOPAC                            | |     |
                                                     | |     | North
                                                     | |     | to Braker Lane
                                      ---------------+ |
                                      -+ /-----------+ |
                                       | |           | |
                                       | +--------+  | |
                                       |  Parking |  | |
                                       |    Lot   |  | |
                                       +----------+  | |
                                                     | |
                              +------------+         | |
                              |            | +-------+ |
                              |            | |   +---+ |
                              |            | |   |   | | Rutland
                              |    ARL     | |   |   | +---------
                              |            | |   |   | +---------
                              |            | |   +---+ |
                              |            | +---+---+ |
                              +------------+         | |  |
                                                     | |  | South
                                                     | |  | to US 183
                                                     | |  v

October Meeting Report

Almost twentyfive members showed up for the October meeting despite the fact that no hardcopy newsletter was distributed. After the usual announcements, people looking for system admininstrators [Sprint/Paranet], etc., Jack McKinney and Gil Kloepfer from ARL gave a presentation about blocking spam. The discussion was so lively, that the group decided to devote an entire meeting to the subject in the future [November].

Jack McKinney introduced the featured speaker from ARL, Eric Evans. The topic was Building Distributed WEB-based applications in Java. It wasn't just theoretical, it was a post-mortem of a real implementation. Eric went into great detail about what the expected to make of the project, how it evolved, and what they would have done differently today. The application suite is in use today, and still evovling. The presentation can be viewed in it's entirety at:

In other news, now has additional space on line. Thanks to Jack McKinney for opening the building and lifting, Ron Roberts for physically installing the disk with the screwdriver from his trusty pocket protector, and Lenny Tropiano for formating and mounting a new /var/local filesystem.

Ray Schafer is busy juggling the events calendar. We plan a McKinney presentation on IPv6 in December. Elections will happen in January with a presentation from Hummingbird.

From The President

by Jack McKinney

On Resumes

We have had a lot of UNIX system administrator recruiters expressing an interest in our group. If you are seeking employment, it is a good idea to always have your resumes with you wherever you go. Since recruiters are now trying to show up more regularly at our meetings, it is definitely a good idea to make sure that you have a few copies with you there.


There have been a lot of complaints about the cactus machine. A lot of the problems with disk space on the machine are going to end up being policy issues. The officers will be getting together to discuss this real soon (they just don't know it, yet).

In the very near future, we are going to have a new hard drive (to replace /usr/local, which I can hear creaking from the extra weight) and soft quotas. We already have the hard drive, it is just a matter of getting it installed. I will write a quick and dirty quota script, probably this weekend. Luis and I have been working on clearing up some old accounts. Make sure that you are current!

On tutorials

So far, there is no tutorial scheduled for this month. As always, I am very interested in hearing your requests and offers. Personally, I would be interested in seeing a tutorial on pthreads. Anyone? If anyone sends me suggestions that I can cover, I'll see what I can put together for this month.

On programs

We have speakers lined up for the next four meetings. Woo Hoo! This doesn't mean we aren't interested in suggestions, leads, contacts, and blackmail information (who is the current blackmail officer?).

On Donner, on Blitzen

I said we have speakers for the next four meetings. This kind of skips December. This is because December has traditionally been kind of a slow meeting. This December's meeting will be on the 18th, which is probably not going to be bad. We will have a meeting, though I don't know if we'll have a speaker. Last year was a general get together, talk about UNIX, and eat way too much pizza (6 people, 8 pizzas--do the math). Hopefully this year we can get a better turnout. Maybe I'll have more to say in November. Maybe some recruiting agency will bring [Insert December holiday] cookies.

Membership Report

by Luis Basto

Please welcome Jay Brunker, Michael Shaw, Sean D.Arneil, Stephen Pyrczak, and Andrew Helyer as new members of CACTUS. We also want to thank M.H. Khan, Deepak Mathur, and Mike Rayburn for renewing their membership.

We are please to have Paranet renew their sponsorship. Sprint Paranet is the oldest and largest organization solely devoted to the effective integration, management and support of distributed computing environments. Their service covers operational support to strategic business reorganization in areas of Unix, Windows NT, networking, database, and desktop services to major companies in the Austin area. Sprint Paranet is headquartered in Houston and has branches in over 27 cities. The contact information is John Smith, (512) 343-4526, jhsmith [at] paranet <dot> com.

Recently we made some effort to clean up the membership database. The accounts of past due members were frozen and will eventually be removed to recover disk space, although that's no longer the primary reason. See related report on new disk drive elsewhere.

We had a few people queried about their locked accounts and they all get resolved. Obviously, this is a catch-22 situation. If you are reading this, that means your account is current and this does not affect you. If you did not receive a newsletter, and cannot log in, your membership probably has expired. However, we have a grace period of at least three months so everyone should be amply notified. So if you think you are a current member but cannot log in or did not receive a newsletter, send email to membership [at] cactus <dot> org.


To renew your membership, please send check or money order payable to CACTUS ($25/yr for regular membership and $96/yr for corporate sponsorship):

PO BOX 9786
AUSTIN, TX 78766-9786

You can also pay in person at the general meetings. The date on the upper right hand of the newsletter mailing label indicates when your membership expires. Please direct any inquiries or address changes to membership [at] cactus <dot> org.

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